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Also known as viscoelastic foam, memory foam contours in response to heat and pressure. The material provides a supportive, pressure-relieving cradle that makes it ideal for use in pillows.

Memory foam pillows can be solid or shredded, and many of the best pillows today feature cooling techniques to battle the heat retention that was typical of traditional memory foam. Pillows made of this moldable and highly versatile material are widely available in all budgets.

Whether you suffer from neck pain or whether you’re simply looking for a pillow that will support your spine and help you get a better night’s sleep, look no further. We’ve rounded up some of our top picks and compiled a comprehensive guide on how to choose the best memory foam pillow.

The Best Memory Foam Pillows

Best Value – Marlow Pillow
Best for Neck Pain – Original Groove Pillow
Best Neck Support – Luxome LAYR Customizable Pillow
Best for Combination Sleepers – Silk & Snow Pillow
Best for Side Sleepers – Layla Memory Foam Pillow
Best for Spinal Alignment – Zoey Curve Pillow

Product Details

Best Overall

Saatva Memory Foam Pillow

Brand Logo
Price: $155 – Queen $175 – King
Fill: Shredded Gel Memory Foam
Firmness: Medium

Who it’s best for:

  • Sleepers who prefer adjustable pillows
  • Those with neck and shoulder pain
  • Hot sleepers


  • Adjustable fill level for customized support and loft
  • Graphite-infused, shredded memory foam sleeps cool
  • Breathable organic cotton cover with phase-change material for cooling

Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Saatva pillows

The Saatva Memory Foam Pillow is another great option for sleepers whose loft preferences change from night to night. It features a removable inner pillow made of graphite-infused memory foam, along with a shredded memory foam core. Simply remove the inner pillow to adjust the thickness and feel of the pillow.

The cover is composed of breathable organic cotton quilted with phase-change material, which helps the pillow maintain a cool temperature. As a result, this pillow is suitable for anyone who normally finds memory foam too hot. Air also circulates freely through the shredded core, and this foam is infused with gel to draw heat away from your body. The dual memory foam layers also ensure even conforming and relief for any aches and pains in your neck or shoulders.

The cover can be machine washed and dried, but spot cleaning is recommended for the inner memory foam pillow. Saatva offers free ground shipping to all customers in the contiguous U.S. The pillow can be returned within 45 days of delivery, even if it has been used or laundered. It is also backed by a one-year warranty against material defects.

A picture of the Marlow Pillow in Sleep Foundation's test lab.

Best Value

Marlow Pillow

Brand Logo
Price: $65 – Standard $85 – King
Fill: 80% memory foam, 20% polyester fiber
Firmness: Adjustable

Who it’s best for:

  • Side sleepers
  • People who aren't sure of their ideal pillow loft and firmness
  • Those who experience neck pain during sleep


  • Adjustable loft and firmness
  • Strong balance of support and contouring
  • 365-day return policy

Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Marlow pillows

The Marlow Pillow is both lofty and conforming, making it a comfortable option for side sleepers or those with neck pain. The pillow also has an adjustable design that allows sleepers to pick a firmness and loft that works best for their needs.

The pillow is filled with a memory foam and polyester blend that contours closely to your head and neck. The pillow is encased in a cotton shell, providing a soft, breathable surface. While most pillows offer a single firmness, the Marlow has a unique zippered construction that lets sleepers adjust both the firmness and loft with an easy zip. Those who prefer a firmer and loftier pillow can zip the side of the pillow closed. If you enjoy pillows that are softer and thinner, simply unzip the side.

Side sleepers need a pillow that is lofty enough to support their head but conforming enough to cradle their neck, preventing pressure buildup. With its memory foam fill and adjustability options, the Marlow is a great choice for side sleepers to find the perfect match for their needs. The pillow is also ideal for people whose loft and firmness preferences might change from night to night.

The Marlow Pillow comes with a 2-year warranty and a generous 365-day return policy, which is rare for a pillow. The pillows ships for free within the contiguous U.S.

Most Comfortable

Brooklyn Bedding Luxury Cooling Memory Foam Pillow

Brand Logo
Price: $129 – Queen $149 – King
Fill: Open-cell memory foam
Firmness: Medium

Who it’s best for:

  • People who typically sleep hot on memory foam pillows
  • Side and back sleepers
  • Value seekers


  • Low and high loft options to accommodate different sleep positions and preferences
  • Breathable, circular-knit cover designed to sleep cool
  • Approachable pricing and hassle-free 30-night trial

Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Brooklyn Bedding pillows

Memory foam is notorious for trapping heat, The Brooklyn Bedding Luxury Cooling Memory Foam Pillow has a cover made from proprietary fabric designed to promote airflow and sleep cool. By drawing heat away from your body, this material can offset the uncomfortable warmth that often occurs when memory foam traps heat.

The core is composed of solid memory foam that contours evenly around the head and neck. Customers can choose from two options in terms of thickness level. The 4.5-inch thickness is a mid-range loft that should be suitable for back sleepers, while the thicker 6-inch design provides the elevated support many side sleepers need. A medium feel ensures most people can enjoy the foam’s gentle cushioning without sinking too deeply into the pillow. You can remove and machine-wash the cover whenever it needs a cleaning.

Brooklyn Bedding offers the pillow in queen and king sizes. The price-points for both are quite approachable compared to memory foam pillows from competing brands, and all customers in the contiguous U.S. qualify for free ground shipping. The sleep trial lasts 30 nights, and all orders are backed by a 1-year warranty against structural defects.

Best for Neck Pain

Original Groove Pillow

Brand Logo
Price: $60 – Standard
Fill: Bamboo charcoal-infused memory foam
Firmness: Medium Firm

Who it’s best for:

  • Side and back sleepers
  • People who enjoy the conforming feel of memory foam
  • Sleepers who experience neck pain at night


  • Memory foam conforms closely to relieve pressure in the head and neck
  • Curved shape offers a balance of support and contouring
  • Removable machine-washable cover

Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Groove pillows

Memory foam pillows are known for their excellent contouring, but the Original Groove Pillow stood apart from other memory foam pillows we’ve tested thanks to a unique shape that enhances contouring while creating support where it’s most needed. This combination makes the pillow a great option if spinal alignment is important to you.

The pillow is composed entirely of memory foam, which molded closely to our heads and necks during testing. The ergonomic design features a gentle dip that cradles your head, effectively reducing pressure buildup. Meanwhile the raised parts of the pillow ensured that our testers’ heads received ample support. We found this mix of contouring and support was best suited for side and back sleepers.

The polyester “scuba” cover has a soft feel and is removable. You may wash it in a household machine. Compared to other memory foam pillows we’ve tried out, the Groove has a reasonable price-point. It comes with a 100-night sleep trial, and shipping is free for orders over $150.

Best Cooling

SHEEX Infinite Zen Performance Pillow

Brand Logo
Price: $139 – Standard/Queen
Fill: Solid memory foam
Firmness: Medium firm

Who it’s best for:

  • People who normally find memory foam pillows too hot
  • Side and back sleepers
  • Those who frequently wake up with stiff necks


  • Gel-infused memory foam cushions the head and neck without excessive heat retention
  • Quilted jacquard cover is soft and easily cleaned
  • Microban treatment intended to stave off antimicrobial growth

Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on SHEEX pillows

Memory foam pillows can benefit people who enjoy adaptive surfaces for their head as well as those who wake up with stiffness or soreness in their neck and shoulders — but for hot sleepers, these pillows may absorb too much heat and sleep uncomfortably warm. SHEEX’s Infinite Zen Performance Pillow mitigates this issue with temperature-regulating cover and core components. Solid memory foam infused with cooling gel reduces heat retention, as does the breathable jacquard-knit cover, so you can enjoy close contouring without too much warmth.

With a 5-inch loft, the pillow should be thick enough for side sleepers while providing enough elevation to keep back sleepers from snoring. The cover is soft and quilted to enhance the foam’s cradling effect. The fabric is treated with Microban, an antimicrobial agent designed to stave off mold, mildew, and bacteria. For added hygiene, you can remove the cover and machine wash it whenever a cleaning is needed. Line dry, rather than tumble dry, to preserve the fibers over time. The pillow is exclusively available in a standard/queen size.

The Infinite Zen Performance Pillow is affordably priced and reasonable flat-rate shipping shipping is available for domestic U.S. orders, so this purchase should strain your budget. Returns and exchanges are available within 30 days of the purchase date. If you decide to keep the pillow, SHEEX backs the product with a manufacturer’s warranty covering workmanship and material defects for up to 1 year.

A picture of the Luxome LAYR Customizable Pillow in Sleep Foundation's test lab.

Best Neck Support

Luxome LAYR Customizable Pillow

Brand Logo
Price: $100 – Standard/Queen $115 – King
Fill: Down alternative, shredded gel-infused memory foam, solid gel-infused memory foam
Firmness: Adjustable

Who it’s best for:

  • Combination sleepers
  • People whose pillow preferences vary from night to night
  • Those who tend to overheat or sweat in their sleep


  • Reversible design with optional insert should accommodate most sleep positions and firmness preferences
  • Shell composed of breathable, moisture-wicking viscose derived from bamboo
  • Shoppers get a substantial discount when they purchase two pillows

Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

SleepFoundation readers get the best price on Luxome products

The Luxome LAYR Customizable Pillow has a unique design that can accommodate most people regardless of their primary sleep position or general firmness preferences. The pillow’s reversible design features one side cushioned with plush down alternative clusters. Shredded memory foam pads the other side, creating a slightly more supportive feel to prevent neck pain. Your purchase also comes with a solid memory foam insert that can be added to increase the loft and make the pillow feel firmer.

During our tests, the side sleepers on our team agreed that the insert made a big difference for their comfort level. People who use this position generally prefer thicker pillows that keep the head and neck aligned with their spine. Our back and stomach sleepers felt more comfortable without the insert in place. Since adding and removing the insert is a hassle-free process, the pillow is also well suited to combination sleepers who change positions during the night.

A shell composed of bamboo-derived viscose encases the fill. This fabric is highly breathable and has moisture-wicking properties to keep you dry and comfortable on humid nights. Mesh panels along the border also promote airflow throughout the interior. As a result, the LAYR should be a good option for people who normally sleep hot on memory foam.

The shell and insert covers can be laundered in your household machines. You can also place the unwashed pillow in your dryer to recover its shape if flattening occurs with prolonged use. Standard/queen and king sizes are available. Customers who order two pillows with their purchase receive a 50% discount on the second model.

The LAYR Customizable Pillow has an approachable price-point and standard shipping is free of charge for customers in the contiguous U.S. Luxome allows returns of undamaged, like-new pillows within 30 days of the delivery date.

A picture of the Silk & Snow Pillow in Sleep Foundation's test lab.

Best for Combination Sleepers

Silk & Snow Pillow

Brand Logo
Price: $75 – Standard $85 – King
Fill: Shredded memory foam core with down alternative microfiber outer chamber
Firmness: Medium

Who it’s best for:

  • Anyone whose loft preferences change from night to night
  • Hot sleepers
  • Value seekers


  • Adjustable design allows you to change the loft by adding or removing fill
  • Down alternative outer chamber creates a plush surface for your head and neck
  • Shell composed of soft, breathable cotton

Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Silk & Snow pillows

If you’re a combination sleeper, then the most comfortable pillow probably depends on which position you’re using. Side sleepers typically need a thick, lofty pillow, back sleepers often prefer a medium profile, and stomach sleepers often feel comfortable on thin pillows that don’t elevate the neck too much. The Silk & Snow Pillow’s adjustable design allows you to use any position you wish. Simply add or remove shredded memory foam from the pillow’s core to achieve the optimal thickness for your current position.

Down alternative fibers fill the pillow’s outer chamber. These fibers mimic the natural softness of real down without triggering allergy symptoms, using animal-based materials, or retaining too much heat. A shell made of 100% cotton provides additional breathability and softness. You can machine wash the outer chamber, but the memory foam shouldn’t be laundered in any way.

Our testing team was impressed with the pillow’s adjustability. Side sleepers preferred the fill at full volume, cushioning the space between their heads and downward-facing shoulders. Most of our back sleepers removed 20% to 40% of the fill in order to ensure adequate elevation without straining their necks. For stomach sleepers on our team, the pillow felt most comfortable with at least 50% of the fill removed.

The Silk & Snow Pillow is affordably priced compared to many competing models, and shipping is free of charge for customers in the contiguous U.S. and provincial Canada. Your order includes a 100-night sleep trial with a mandatory break-in period of 30 nights. If you decide to keep the pillow after the trial ends, you’ll also receive a 3-year warranty against material defects.

Best for Side Sleepers

Layla Memory Foam Pillow

Brand Logo
Price: $89 – Queen $104 – King
Fill: 70% shredded memory foam, 30% polyester fiber
Firmness: Medium Firm

Who it’s best for:

  • Those who want a fully adjustable pillow
  • People who find traditional memory foam pillows too adaptive
  • Sleepers with persistent neck and shoulder pain


  • Customizable design allows you to nail down your ideal loft
  • Foam-and-fiber fill blend cushions the head and neck without absorbing too much heat
  • Pillow is fully machine-washable for easy care

Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

Best for Side Sleepers

If you sleep on your side, you’ll most likely need a thick, lofty pillow that fills the space between your head and downward-facing shoulder. Pillows with lower profiles may not provide enough padding, and this can lead to poor spinal alignment and pressure points. The Layla Memory Foam Pillow is fully customizable for loft, so you should be able to sleep comfortably no matter how much space you need to fill. An inner pouch holds the shredded foam and fiber fill, allowing you to adjust the thickness with ease.

Since the fill incorporates down alternative fibers, this pillow won’t feel too adaptive or “hug” your head and neck. This can be a plus if you dislike these qualities, which are common to traditional memory foam pillows. That said, the foam provides a fair amount of cushioning if you live with frequent neck or shoulder pain. A breathable polyester pillow encases the fill pouch. You can technically machine wash the entire pillow, but this may require several drying cycles. Layla recommends separating the pouch from the cover and only laundering the latter.

Side sleepers on our testing team by and large enjoyed the pillow. Most preferred the pillow at full or nearly full volume. Our back sleepers felt comfortable with less fill and a lower profile, whereas our stomach sleepers removed most of the fill to minimize neck strain. We found the pillow quite moldable during our tests, and recommend it to anyone who enjoys snuggling with a pillow while they sleep.

The Memory Foam Pillow is reasonably priced and Layla ships free of charge to all customers in the contiguous U.S. The company’s generous sleep trial allows you to test the pillow for up to 120 nights before deciding whether to return it for a refund or keep it.

Product page photo of the Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Cloud Adjustable Pillow

Best Adjustable

Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Cloud Adjustable Pillow

Brand Logo
Price: $69 – Standard/Queen
Fill: Shredded memory foam
Firmness: Medium Soft

Who it’s best for:

  • People with persistent neck and shoulder pain
  • Those who normally sleep hot on foam pillows
  • Value seekers


  • Solid memory foam core contours evenly to the head and neck
  • Cooling cover helps reduce heat absorption
  • All orders include a 50-night trial period and 5-year warranty

Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Tempur-Pedic pillows

Memory foam pillows can be beneficial if you frequently wake up with a stiff or sore neck – especially models with solid foam cores. The Nectar Graphite Pillow is a standout model thanks in part to its cover, which is woven with cooling fibers to reduce the heat buildup that often occurs with foam pillows. A graphite infusion in the core provides added temperature control.

Due to its medium (5) feel, the pillow should contour closely without sinking too much. The cover has a soft feel to accentuate the foam’s deep cushioning. At 5 inches thick, the pillow is a good option for side and back sleepers who need a bit of extra loft. The cover cannot be removed, so spot cleaning is needed if the cover becomes stained or smudged. Standard and king sizes are available.

An approachable price-point and free shipping anywhere in the contiguous U.S. make the Graphite Pillow a good choice for budget-conscious shoppers. You’ll also receive a 50-night trial period with your order, as well as a 5-year manufacturer’s warranty if you decide to keep the pillow.

Best Adjustable

Zoey Curve Pillow

Brand Logo
Price: $110 – Queen $130 – King
Fill: Shredded memory foam
Firmness: Medium

Who it’s best for:

  • Side sleepers
  • Those who want a pillow with adjustable settings
  • Those who tend to sleep hot


  • Ergonomic shape cradles the head and neck while promoting even spinal alignment
  • Adjustable design lets you customize the feel and loft
  • Cover is made from breathable, lyocell-blend fabric

Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

SF Readers get 15% off with code SF15

If you primarily sleep on your side, you should consider a pillow that cushions the head and neck without compromising even spinal alignment. The Zoey Curve Pillow features an ergonomic design specifically intended for side sleepers, though back sleepers can also benefit from the specialized shape. that cradles the head, supports the neck, and keeps these areas aligned with the rest of your spine.

The pillow’s fill consists of shredded memory foam, which you can add or remove to achieve your ideal loft and firmness level. Side sleepers will likely feel most comfortable with the foam at full volume, while back and stomach sleepers should consider removing some of the fill to create a low to medium loft. Breathable lyocell-blend fabric makes up the cover. You can remove and launder the cover in your household machines, but avoid exposing the foam to water – this can cause permanent damage.

The Zoey Curve Pillow is affordably priced and shipping is free for all customers in the U.S. Your purchase includes a trial period that spans 100 nights. Should you decide to keep the pillow, you’ll also receive a 5-year warranty against structural defects.

How to Choose a Memory Foam Pillow

Memory foam is a type of polyurethane foam that’s been treated with chemicals to give it special properties. It’s also known as viscoelastic foam, a moniker that accurately describes the way the material softens and contours in response to heat and pressure, gradually regaining its shape once heat and pressure are lifted.

Memory foam is popular in pillows because it molds to the head and neck, providing a supportive surface that can be shaped to the user’s liking. This close-conforming material is unrivaled in its ability to alleviate pressure points.

In this section, we’ll delve deeper into the pros and cons of memory foam and cover some of the most important aspects to look for when purchasing a memory foam pillow.

What to Consider When Purchasing a Memory Foam Pillow

The market is flooded with manufacturers who tinker with their memory foam to give it different qualities, such as using gel infusions to achieve better temperature neutrality. Some proprietary foams do succeed in their aims, but it can be very difficult to tell before trying the pillow out for yourself.

Before you shop for a memory foam pillow, it’s important to understand the basics behind how they are constructed and what kind of options exist. Focusing on the following factors can help you see past the marketing hype to choose the best memory foam pillow for you.

Memory foam pillows come in two types: one-piece and shredded.

  • One-Piece: One-piece memory foam pillows are made of a single solid block of memory foam. This can either be in the shape of a traditional pillow, or in a tailored shape that mimics the curves of the head and neck. One-piece memory foam pillows conform very closely and have a slower response to pressure. They tend to go back to their original shape when you take your head off the pillow.
  • Shredded: Shredded memory foam pillows can either contain 100 percent memory foam or be blended with other materials such as latex or fiberfill. The advantage of using shredded memory foam is that users can add or remove filling to adjust the pillow loft to their liking, as well as customize the shape of the pillow to a certain extent. Shredded memory foam generally allows more room for airflow compared to a one-piece memory foam pillow.

Here are some other factors to consider when buying your pillow:

  • Sleeping Position: Your sleeping position is one of the main things that will dictate what type of pillow you should choose. One-piece memory foam pillows tend to be higher and better-suited to side sleepers, while stomach sleepers often prefer shredded memory foam pillows with most of the loft taken out.
  • Price: Memory foam pillows have an average price-point, with shredded memory foam pillows running at a slightly higher price-point than one-piece pillows. Some companies offer free pillows along with a mattress purchase, which can be a good option if the pillow matches your needs.
  • Pressure Relief: Memory foam offers exceptional pressure relief, and both one-piece and shredded memory foam pillows conform closely to prevent pressure build-up in the head and neck. Because of its conforming abilities, memory foam is often used in specialized orthopedic pillows to help people with neck pain or other problems.
  • Quality Materials: Memory foam eventually loses its ability to bounce back to its original shape, which in turn affects its pressure-relieving capabilities. A pillow with higher-quality foam will last longer than an inferior one – a difference that is often reflected in the price.
  • Firmness Level: The ideal firmness level for your pillow depends on your sleep position, body type, and personal preference. Most memory foam pillows are medium soft to medium. One-piece memory foam pillows offer just one firmness level, but many shredded memory foam pillows allow users to customize the firmness level somewhat by adding or removing the filling.
  • Loft: A pillow with the right loft, or height, will help keep your head and back aligned and prevent neck pain. One-piece memory foam pillows usually have a medium to high loft, while shredded memory foam pillows can have the loft adjusted to virtually any height. While not as customizable as shredded memory foam pillows, some solid-foam pillows have removable inserts for users to choose between two or more settings.
  • Cooling Properties: Heat build-up in your pillow can make you uncomfortably warm and disrupt your sleep. Memory foam is notorious for heat retention, although today’s manufacturers use many techniques to get around this. Of course, shredded memory foam naturally allows more room for airflow, so all other things being equal, a shredded pillow will sleep cooler than a one-piece pillow.

What Are the Pros and Cons of a Memory Foam Pillow?

Memory foam has unsurpassed contouring abilities that make it one of the best pillow materials for pressure relief and support. However, memory foam has some drawbacks as well, the most notable of which is its tendency to trap heat. The material also has a slow response to pressure that some people like, but that can be restrictive when changing positions.

  • Close-conforming pressure relief: Memory foam softens in response to heat and pressure, molding itself to fit the shape of your body and prevent pressure build-up.
  • Support: Because memory foam remains fairly firm in the areas that are not immediately adjacent to the head and neck, the material forms a supportive cradle that promotes healthy spinal alignment and reduces neck pain and headaches.
  • Price: While not the cheapest pillows out there, memory foam pillows offer a luxurious feel at a much lower price than natural or organic products.
  • Noise: Memory foam absorbs movement and produces little to no noise, minimizing sleep disruptions to you and your partner.
  • Customizability: The viscous nature of memory foam means manufacturers can mold it into virtually any shape, which is why it’s commonly used in orthopedic pillows.
  • Availability: Memory foam pillows are a popular product that you’re sure to find virtually anywhere pillows are sold.
  • Hypoallergenic: Memory foam mattresses are generally resistant to dust mites and bacteria, making them a good choice for allergy sufferers as long as you’re not allergic to the foam itself.
  • Sleeps hot: Memory foam is notorious for trapping heat, leading many sleepers to find it uncomfortably warm.
  • Slow response to pressure: Memory foam is not very responsive, which may lead some people to feel “stuck” when trying to shift sleeping positions.
  • Durability: Memory foam pillows usually last three years at most, since the material eventually loses its ability to regain its shape.
  • Off-gassing: Like all synthetic foams, memory foam releases some initial “off-gassing” odors when it is first unpacked.

One-Piece vs. Shredded Memory Foam Pillows

Here are some of the major ways in which one-piece and shredded memory foam pillows differ:

  • Customization: Both one-piece and shredded memory foam pillows can be customized to a certain extent. Shredded memory foam pillows frequently have a zipper that allows users to open the pillow and add or remove filling to adjust the loft. It’s a good idea to hang on to the filling in case you ever want to make the pillow higher. Although not customizable to the same extent as shredded memory foam pillows, one-piece pillows sometimes have removable inserts that give users several choices of loft.
  • Moldability: Shredded memory foam pillows have a significant advantage over one-piece pillows in that they can be molded to virtually any shape. This is highly convenient for people who like to use their pillow in different positions.
  • Weight: Memory foam pillows weigh more than fiberfill or down equivalents, with many weighing 5 pounds or more. By design, shredded memory foam weighs less than the equivalent volume in solid foam.
  • Heat Retention: Shredded memory foam pillows generally maintain a more neutral temperature, since the design leaves room for airflow between the pieces. That said, some one-piece memory foam pillows feature ventilation or cut-out channels that allow air to flow freely and carry heat away.
  • Fluffing: One-piece memory foam pillows are low-maintenance and don’t need to be fluffed. Shredded memory foam pillows can become lumpy if not regularly fluffed, but the advantage of shredded pillows is that many of them can be machine-washed.
  • Support: One-piece memory foam pillows are usually firmer and keep their shape better than shredded memory foam pillows, which may need to be readjusted every time you switch positions.

Who is Best Suited to a Memory Foam Pillow?

Memory foam pillows are generally best suited to side sleepers, back sleepers, and anyone who suffers from neck pain or who prefers a pillow with a higher loft. While your best pillow will partly depend on your body type and personal preference, here are some general considerations for choosing a memory foam pillow according to sleep position and other factors.

  • Sleepers with Neck Pain: Many sleepers successfully reduce neck pain with a cervical memory foam pillow. Thanks to the moldability of memory foam, these pillows are able to cradle the natural curves of the neck and head to provide the needed support.
  • Side Sleepers: Side sleepers need a higher, firmer pillow that supports the head and eases pressure on the shoulders. Memory foam pillows fit the bill, especially firmer one-piece memory foam pillows, and can often be further customized according to individual preferences.
  • Back Sleepers: Back sleepers do best with a moderately lofty pillow that keeps the spine at a natural angle. The ability of memory foam to compress in response to pressure makes it a perfect candidate for many back sleepers, as it allows the sleeper’s head to sink in just far enough to be at a comfortable height with respect to the body.
  • Sleepers Who Enjoy High Loft: Most memory foam pillows are quite high, and shredded memory foam pillows can be stuffed to the brim to make them even higher. This makes them ideal for people who like a pillow with a high loft.

Who is not suited:

  • Hot Sleepers: Memory foam is known for trapping heat, so it’s not the best choice for those who naturally run warm or who live in hot climates. If you sleep hot but you like the feel of memory foam, there is the option of using a shredded memory foam pillow or a one-piece pillow with ventilation or cut-out air channels. These techniques help improve airflow and reduce heat retention. Some pillows have cooling elements and draw heat away from the sleeper using gel, graphite, or copper infusions, or keep a cool-to-the-touch surface with phase-change material.
  • Stomach Sleepers: Stomach sleepers usually require a flatter pillow to keep the neck aligned with the spine, so although some shredded memory foam pillows are suitable, this isn’t generally the best material. That said, stomach sleepers use their pillows in different ways, so the ideal loft will change from person to person. Some stomach sleepers may be satisfied with the adjustability of a shredded memory foam pillow that allows them to form a pillow with a lower loft.

Which Memory Foam Pillow Sizes Are Available?

Memory foam pillows typically come in the following sizes, although the exact dimensions may vary by manufacturer:

  • Standard (20” x 26”): Standard pillows are the smallest and most commonly used size, and can be used on any size bed.
  • Super Standard (20” x 28”): Super standard pillows are relatively rare. With a length halfway between the size of a standard and a queen pillow, they may be suitable for any mattress up to a queen.
  • Queen (20” x 30”): Queen size pillows are commonly available as an alternative to standard pillows. They give a little more playing room to people who move around during the night, or who like to sleep with their pillow folded or scrunched up.
  • King (20” x 36”): In addition to providing plenty of room while sleeping, king pillows are also one of the most comfortable sizes to lean against while sitting up in bed. Most online bedding companies offer king size pillows.
  • Body Pillow (54” x 20” OR 48” x 20”): Body pillows are long and skinny, meant to be cuddled against. These are most frequently used by side sleepers, who tuck them between the legs to keep the hips aligned and reduce strain on the lumbar area. Body pillows may also be an invaluable sleep tool for pregnant women, and can be a comfortable backrest when sitting.

Frequently Asked Questions About Memory Foam Pillows

How much do memory foam pillows cost?

Decent memory foam pillows usually start around $50 and can go up to $150 or more. Prices vary depending on size, foam density and quality, cooling features, and other features such as special shapes or high-quality covers. Compared with other types of pillows, memory foam pillows are similar to latex pillows, cheaper than buckwheat or down pillows, and more expensive than polyester or down alternative pillows.

How do I clean a memory foam pillow?

Some shredded memory foam pillows can be machine-washed, but most one-piece pillows are spot-clean only. It’s important to note that memory foam can get moldy if not allowed to dry properly, so go easy on the spot-cleaning and try not to get the pillow too wet. Many memory foam pillows have removable covers that can be machine-washed.

Where can I buy a memory foam pillow?

Memory foam pillows are commonly available online as well as in many brick-and-mortar stores.

How long do memory foam pillows last?

The average lifespan of a memory foam pillow is 2-3 years, which is longer than down alternative pillows but not as long as down, latex, or buckwheat pillows.

Even the best memory foam pillows eventually lose their integrity. One-piece pillows start to develop permanent indentations, and shredded memory foam pillows become lumpy. While higher-density memory foam tends to be more durable than lower-density memory foam, the downside is that higher-density memory foam also traps more heat.

Regular cleaning and fluffing can help prolong the longevity of a shredded memory foam pillow. Since one-piece pillows are prone to developing mildew when wet, the best you can do is keep them as clean as possible and wash the pillowcase regularly.

Are memory foam pillows adjustable?

Most shredded memory foam pillows offer users the opportunity to adjust the loft by adding or removing filler, and some one-piece pillows have removable inserts. Shredded memory foam pillows can also be scrunched into different shapes if the shape of the cover allows. Many pillows come with gussets meant to help keep the contents in place.

Do memory foam pillows off-gas?

Yes, memory foam is a synthetic material that will release some off-gassing odors. These are the result of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) being released into the air. While they are considered harmless, people who are sensitive to smell may find off-gassing odors bothersome, especially with the material so close to their face. If this sounds like you, try to look for a pillow that’s certified by a third-party organization for low emissions, and let the pillow air out in a well-ventilated space for a few days or even a few weeks before using it.

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